For years, a full-time Chief Medical Officer was rare and only a handful of positions existed, typically held by a respected physician who no longer wanted, or was unable, to maintain a clinical practice. The number of physicians enrolled in a graduate management degree program with an eye on the executive suite was miniscule.
All of that has changed, even for many hospital CEOs who once swore they would never appoint a full-time physician executive. From quality and safety of care to prickly competitive issues, there has been an explosion in the number of physician executives with titles such as Vice President of Medical Affairs, Vice President of Quality and Safety, Vice President of Clinical Affairs and, in an era where the term “chief” holds an important hierarchical significance, you have positions such as Chief Informatics Officer and, of course, Chief Medical Officer.
The success of a new physician executive is not automatic, even for an internal candidate. Getting medical staff buy-in for the position, the role, and the all-important “definition of success” is critical. If you are familiar with the concept of onboarding, you know that these steps are important pillars of this essential process; without the support of influential members of the medical staff and a clear definition of goals, objectives, and a picture of success, you run a very real risk of creating more problems than you will solve. Chief Executives should take the following steps regardless of whether it is a new position or a replacement.
This may seem like the kind of stuff that everyone knows. Yes, but you would be shocked at the number of train wrecks that occur in executive search precisely because these issues were not addressed.
© 2012 John Gregory Self
© 2020 John Gregory Self